Full fat versus low fat
Public Health England (PHE) has this week branded a new report that suggests eating fat doesn’t make consumers fat “irresponsible” and says it “misleads the public”.
The Eat Fat, Cut the Carbs and Avoid Snacking To Reverse Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes report published by the National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the newly-formed Public Health Collaboration says the advice to eat ‘low fat’ and ‘lower cholesterol’ products has had unintended disastrous health consequences. It adds that the rise in obesity immediately following their introduction suggests “they are a root cause of the problem”.
Instead, the report calls for a “complete overhaul” of dietary advice and public health messaging. As well as suggesting eating fat doesn’t make a consumer fat, the NOF says saturated fat does not cause heart disease and full fat dairy is likely protective.
It adds that consumers should avoid processes foods labelled ‘low fat’, ‘lite’, ‘low cholesterol’ or ‘proven to lower cholesterol’ and industrial vegetable oils as well as limit starchy and refined carbohydrates.
However, PHE argues the report “is not a systematic review of all the relevant evidence”.
“Suggesting people should eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories conflicts with the broad evidence base and internationally agreed interpretations of it,” says Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at PHE.
PHE says the report does not include an assessment of the methodological quality of the studies and should not be confused with the reviews of the evidence that are produced by its own process. For example, it notes that the NOF report highlights one trial suggesting high dairy intake reduced the risk of obesity, while ignoring a review and meta-analysis of 29 trials which concluded that increasing dairy did not reduce the risk of weight gain.
So maybe the best advice is to eat everything in moderation.